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Mealey's Elder Law

  • January 11, 2019

    U.S. High Court Will Hear Appeal Over Family Trust Taxes

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11 granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue after the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that it improperly taxed a family trust based on the in-state residency of a beneficiary (North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, No. 18-457, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 11, 2019

    Massachusetts High Court Clarifies Scope Of Spousal Disinheritance Statute

    BOSTON — The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Jan. 8 vacated a probate court judge’s ruling denying competing motions for summary judgment filed by a decedent’s wife and his adult children, finding that Massachusetts General Law Chapter 191, Section 15, which is intended to prevent spousal disinheritance, reduces a surviving spouse’s interest in the decedent’s real property from outright ownership to a life estate when the surviving spouse's shares of the decedent's estate exceed $25,000 (Susan Ciani v. Brenda L. MacGrath, et al., No. SJC-12531, Mass. Sup., 2019 Mass. LEXIS 2).

  • January 10, 2019

    Panel Reverses Ruling For Nursing Facility, Holds Estate Showed Causation

    BOSTON — After holding that an estate showed a causal connection between a rehabilitation center’s negligence and a resident’s death from Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff.), a Massachusetts appeals court panel on Jan. 7 reversed a ruling dismissing the estate’s lawsuit and remanded the case for further proceedings (Eileen Moalli, et al. v. Genesis Healthcare, LLC, No. 18-P-400, Mass. App., 2019 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 16).

  • January 10, 2019

    5th Circuit Upholds Jury Verdict For Doctor In Employee’s Age Bias Suit

    NEW ORLEANS — A trial court did not err when it denied a former employee’s request for a new trial on her claims that her firing constituted retaliatory discharge under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), a Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Dec. 13 (Elva Garza v. James A. Caplin, No. 18-40130, 5th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35108).

  • January 9, 2019

    Appeals Panel Reverses $50M Required Payment By Trust To Conservator

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Court of Appeals on Jan. 4 reversed a lower court’s upholding of an order requiring an irrevocable trust to pay $50 million to a conservator because the money was not part of the estate under Section 62-5-402(2) of the South Carolina Code (Peter J. Wellin, et al. v. Keith S. Wellin, No. 2016-001141, S.C. App., 2019 S.C. App. LEXIS 2).

  • January 9, 2019

    Panel Holds Mother Did Not Deny Visitation, Reverses Ruling For Grandmother

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — After finding that a mother did not unreasonably deny a grandmother visitation with her grandchild under state law, a South Carolina appeals panel on Jan. 4 vacated a family court’s order allowing for unsupervised visitation (Lori Brown v. Heather Key, No. 5610, S.C. App., 2019 S.C. App. LEXIS 5).

  • January 8, 2019

    High Court: Social Security Act Fees Cap Applies Only To Court Work

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 8 held that the 25 percent cap for attorney fees prescribed by Section 406(b) of the Social Security Act (SSA) for attorneys representing individuals seeking old age, survivorship and disability benefits applies only to work before a court and not to the aggregate fees (Richard A. Culbertson v. Nancy A. Berryhill, No. 17-773, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 8, 2019

    Judge Finds Man’s Suit Over Termination Of Policy Untimely

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Dec. 20 dismissed without prejudice a man’s lawsuit accusing his father’s long-term care insurance provider of unlawfully canceling his policy for failure to pay his annual premium, explaining that claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty are untimely and should be amended (Kesav Dama v. Prudential Life Insurance Company of America, No. 18-cv-03104, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215738).

  • January 7, 2019

    Baltimore County Asks Supreme Court To Reverse Retroactive Pension Award

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A ruling by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an appeal holding that a back pay award in an age-based pension rate dispute was mandatory legal remedy directly conflicts with three pension cases already decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Baltimore County, Md., argues in a petition for writ of certiorari filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 13 (Baltimore County, Maryland v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 18-781, U.S. Sup.).

  • January 4, 2019

    Illinois Panel Affirms Dismissal Of Suit Alleging Fraudulent Misrepresentation

    CHICAGO — An Illinois appeals court on Dec. 24 affirmed the dismissal of a man’s complaint accusing a life insurance company of fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment relating to his purchase of long-term care (LTC) insurance (Di Rito v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., No. 1-17-3202, 2018 Ill. App. Unpub. LEXIS 2315).

  • January 4, 2019

    Grandparents’ Visitation Request Reinstated Despite Son’s Relinquishment Of Rights

    LINCOLN, Neb. — A Nebraska appellate panel on Dec. 18 reinstated a visitation action filed by grandparents requesting an official visitation agreement with their former daughter-in-law despite relinquishment of parental rights by their son, finding that a district court erred when it found that the action became moot when the father gave up his parental rights and the mother’s husband adopted the child (Dean D., et al. v. Rachel S., No. A-17-1260, Neb. App., 26 Neb. App. 678).

  • January 3, 2019

    Most Class Claims Over Life Insurance Premium Increases Survive Dismissal

    LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Dec. 26 primarily denied a motion to dismiss class claims filed after an insurer raised life insurance premiums, ruling that dismissal was appropriate only as to a portion of the plaintiff’s breach of contract claim and a portion of the elder abuse claim (Gail Thompson, et al. v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company, No. 18-5422, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 216312).

  • December 31, 2018

    Virginia High Court Vacates Jury’s Verdict On Undue Influence

    RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Supreme Court on Dec. 20 vacated a jury’s verdict finding that a man’s will was the result of undue influence, holding that the trial court judge erred when denying a woman’s motion to strike the claim and that the jury was improperly instructed (Vickie M. Parson v. Deneen L. Miller, No. 171393, Va. Sup., 2018 Va. LEXIS 198).

  • December 20, 2018

    Panel: Discrimination Claim Unsupported, Retaliation Claim Time-Barred

    CHICAGO — In a Dec. 18 holding, a divided Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed findings by a Wisconsin federal judge that a claim for age discrimination levied by an employee against his former employer lacked evidentiary support (Gary Wrolstad v. CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Society, No. 17-1920, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 35400).

  • December 20, 2018

    Idaho High Court Issues Substitute Opinion Of Ruling In Will Dispute

    BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court on Dec. 18 issued a substitute opinion in a will dispute involving undue influence in which it affirmed a magistrate judge’s decision to refuse admission of a disinherited daughter’s email sent after her mother’s death in 2013 because the executor of the estate was unable to redact hearsay from the email to render it a statement of interest on his behalf (In the matter of the Estate of Victoria H. Smith, No. 45313, Idaho Sup., 2018 Ida. LEXIS 216).

  • December 18, 2018

    Elderly Man Failed To Show Title Insurer Breached A Duty, Appeals Panel Says

    LOS ANGELES — An elderly man failed to sufficiently allege a cause of action against a title insurance company for financial elder abuse under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act because there are no allegations that the title insurer owed a duty to the man, a California appeals panel held Dec. 12 (George Carr, et al. v. Chicago Title Insurance Co., et al., No. B284356, Calif. App., 2nd Dist., Div. 5, 2018 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 8371).

  • December 18, 2018

    Judge: Children’s Suit Against Stepmother Over Will Barred By Claim Preclusion

    CHICAGO — A lawsuit brought by three siblings accusing their stepmother of interfering with their testamentary expectancy by using undue influence on their father after a stroke in 2004 was dismissed by a federal judge in Illinois on Dec. 15 after he found that the claims in their federal court action had already been addressed in a state court proceeding in which the plaintiffs filed a petition to invalidate beneficiary designations and recover assets (Yusoff U. Allian, et al. v. Jean Allian, No. 18 C 3825, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 210932).

  • December 17, 2018

    Patient’s Daughter Answers Amicus Curiae Briefs Supporting California Nursing Home

    SAN FRANCISCO — The daughter and successor in interest of an elderly nursing home patient on Nov. 26 refuted amicus curiae briefs in support of the nursing home in a lawsuit alleging that it violated her father’s rights under California Health and Safety Code Section 1430, arguing to the California Supreme Court that none of the briefs demonstrate how interpreting Section 1430(b) to provide a maximum recovery of $500 per lawsuit serves the statute’s “legislative intent and purpose” (Janice Jarman v. HCR Manor Care Inc., et al., No. S241431, Calif. Sup.).

  • December 17, 2018

    Judge Dismisses Part Of Suit Over Challenges To Man’s Health Care Directive

    OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Dec. 10 dismissed a woman’s claims that a county routinely engaged in policy that unconstitutionally challenged elderly individuals’ advanced health care directives (AHCDs), finding that challenging an AHCD is not unconstitutional and that she was unable to adequately allege that the county trained its employees to mislead courts (Judith C. Magney v. County of Humboldt, et al., No. 17-cv-2983, N.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 208142)

  • December 17, 2018

    Split California Panel: Plaintiffs Don’t Have Standing To Challenge End Of Life Act

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The majority of a Fourth District California Court of Appeal panel on Nov. 27 reversed a trial court’s finding that California’s legalization of physician-assisted suicide is unconstitutional after determining that the plaintiffs do not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the law (The People ex rel. Xavier Becerra, et al. v. The Superior Court of Riverside County, et al., No. E070545, Calif. App., 4th Dist., Div. 2, 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 1081).